Welcome to The Game Shelf!

After getting into the board game hobby at the end of 2014, we've decided to share our thoughts on the games we're collecting on our shelves. The collection has certainly expanded over the last few years and we've been making up for lost time!

Sometimes our opinions differ, so Amy will be posting reviews every Tuesday and Fi will post on Thursdays. We hope you enjoy reading some of our opinions on board games - especially those for two players.

Get in touch by emailing thegameshelfblog@gmail.com

Tuesday 31 October 2017

Nurse, roll me the scalpel:- Flatline

Flatline is a real-time cooperative game in which you assume the role of emergency medics after a bomb blast. You have to cure all of the patients that come to you before your emergency generators run out of power and all your equipment turns off, dooming the remaining patients. When I say you have to cure all the patients I mean it, should you save the lives of 7 out of 8 critically wounded people you aren’t congratulated on a job well done under stressful conditions. No. Save everyone or go find a new job!

Flatline takes place in a series of rounds, each with a preparation phase, a real-time phase and a conclusion phase. Each round you lose a cube from the power supply, which acts as the round timer. After that you draw a number of crisis cards equal to the newly revealed number on the power bar. Crisis cards are either standard blue cards, which have negative effects and form a numbered track or emergency orange cards which need to be dealt with this round or they start to trigger a failure state. After drawing crisis cards you roll the two crisis dice and resolve associated crisis cards. Then comes the planning phase where you can take stock and talk to each other for as long as needed to decide what you want to achieve this round. 

Sunday 29 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 19th - 22nd October 2017

Last Friday we had a 6 hour gaming marathon at Thirsty Meeples in Oxford where we played new games for the whole session. In addition, we came home from our week away to a small pile of new deliveries, so this week's first impressions could be very, very long - so I'll keep my thoughts on each game brief. In our time at Thirsty Meeples we only played one game that's jumped straight onto our wishlist and, as is always predictable, it's one that's a little hard to get hold of!

So, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Saturday 28 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work:- Week 14

Four weeks later and it's time for another board game night. Everyone who can is still attending and it's really obvious that people are looking forward to it each month! In the last four weeks I know that at least one colleague has bought two games - Rhino Hero and In A Bind - and a few others are talking about buying games as Christmas gifts, so I must be doing something right!

Week 14

Number of Attendees: 7

Games Played: Sushi Go, Telestrations, Codenames

Thursday 26 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Contrast

Game: Contrast

Publisher: Pink Monkey Games

Designer: Julien Percot

Year: 2017

Contrast is a small box card name, which at first glance is trying to do something similar to games like Dixit and Mysterium, using weird artwork to create a sociable party game. Contrast is a game for 2-6 players in which each player has the same 6 cards, each showing 12 symbols. These 12 symbols is the way you'll need to describe each artwork card, with one symbol which might be; a circle, the colour green, a small or large weight or a tall or short arrow. If you can get into the same mindset as other players then you're likely to score points, unless everyone picks the same, obvious symbol, meaning that no-one scores points.

Tuesday 24 October 2017

It's more of a Juxtaposition in my mind:- Contrast

Game: Contrast

Publisher: Pink Monkey Games

Designer: Julien Percot

Year: 2017

Contrast is a 2-6 player picture-based card game that will immediately make you think of Dixit and Mysterium. You will be presented with a selection of weird and wonderful picture cards that you have to relate to the symbols on the cards in your hand. If you match the same symbols as other players do then you'll win points, but if everyone guesses the same or everyone guesses differently then no-one gets anything!

Each player has a hand of 6 identical cards. Each of these cards have 2 contrasting attributes on them, for example red/yellow or long/short. Each round every player has to choose one of these cards to lay face down with the attribute of choice pointing towards the picture. Once everyone has chosen a card they are all revealed and everyone who played the most common attribute wins the round and gets to take a picture card as a reward. For example if a picture of a giraffe was revealed and 4 out of 6 players chose to play their long/short card with the long side towards the picture then they would all win and be rewarded with a picture card. At the end of the game the player with the most cards is the winner.

Sunday 22 October 2017

Amy's Top 10 Board Games (2017 Edition)

It's been almost 2 years since I last took a long, hard look at our game collection and devised a top 10 list. In that time I've played countless new games, so have my favourites changed all that much? Before we get to the list I want to bring up one honourable mention:

Escape Room: The Game is the first escape room boardgame I’ve played that *truly* feels like an escape room. The puzzles are perfectly tooled to be a challenge but not be too hard and should you get stuck the hint system is well designed to drip feed you help as you need it. That being said it is only 4 games, not all of which are as good as the first. It’s not that easy to get in the UK which means we won’t be getting the expansions any time soon. Whilst there is plenty of quality, there simply isn’t enough quantity for this game to make the list.

Now onto the Top 10;

Saturday 21 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 16th - 18th October 2017

We were hoping to tour the board game cafes in the North West of England this week, but unfortunately things haven't been going our way (in particular a failed trip to Liverpool where both cafes were closed). However, we still had a great time visiting Fan Boy 3 in Manchester - a board game store that offers tables for gaming from their modest sized gaming library. We had a great time playing some new games and talking with the owners about the challenges of running a friendly local game store or a board game cafe.

So, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Thursday 19 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Nomads

Game: Nomads

Publisher: Ludonaute

Designer: Gary Kim

Year: 2017

Nomads is the second game in the Legends of Luma universe from Ludonaute. Their first game, Oh Captain, is highly regarded by our gaming group who have said that it replaces Sheriff of Nottingham, but I have not actually played it. The next game in the line is Nomads - a reworking of a Korean title - Jeju Island. The characters have been changed and the game has been tweaked so that it is apprently more tactical and less random. Overall it's an impressive presentation, so how does it play?

In Nomads, each player takes two circular tokens in their player colour. Each player also gets a special ability and for the green character, this means they have three circular tokens. The board has a circular track with 8 spots which are initially filled with blank nomad tokens, then the coloured tokens that are non-player tokens (in a game with fewer than five players) are placed. Finally each player can place their two tokens onto the stacks in one or two of the eight stacks. During the game you have to move a full stack, dropping off one token into each spot, in a mancala style mechanism. Then every coloured player token that is on top of a stack is able to take a cardboard quare token from the corresponding stack.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 8th - 15th October 2017

It's proving challenging to try and play new games at home at the moment. We have our regular gmaing night on a Thursday where we play campaign games and now we've started a Pathfinder RPG campaign, which is another day taken out of the time for board gaming. I'm not completely sure how I feel about my first ever RPG, but for now I'm going to persevere since the group of people is making it fun. Nevertheless, we've managed to play a few games, thanks in part to our visit to PLAY Expo Manchester this weekend and are getting plenty of free time in the coming weeks. 

So, here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Pass the Peace Pipe:- Nomads

Game: Nomads

Publisher: Ludonaute

Designer: Gary Kim

Year: 2017

Nomads is a 2-5 player Mancala-style game in which you take one of the pirates from Oh Captain and attempt to learn the legends of the Nomadic tribe that rescued you. This would be an easy experience, but the peace pipe they passed around is clouding your head making the stories difficult to grasp. You will wander around the campfire, picking up fragments of each story and trying to piece together the original legends.

Each turn in Nomads a player will collect up one of the stacks of tokens that contains one of their tokens and then move it either way around the central campfire. Each space you pass over you drop one tile from your stack until your stack is emptied. After moving every player with a token at the top of a pile collects the adjacent story fragment. Finally the active player can cash in story fragments for legend cards that provide end game scoring. Occasionally you will reveal moon tiles instead of story fragments, these become a tracker when collected and at 4 tiles a mid-game scoring begins, during this the player who currently has the most points collects 3 moon tokens, while second player collects 1. Moon tokens are worth a point each at the end of the game.

Monday 16 October 2017

Rundown of PLAY Expo Manchester 2017

This weekend we visited PLAY Expo Manchester - a two day gaming event at EventCity Manchester. We knew that there wouldn't be a big presence for board gaming, but decided it was worth checking out since we were in the area. Amy is also a video gamer and we have a growing retro games collection so there was likely to be something more than board games on offer for us. Here's what we saw;

Sunday 15 October 2017

Overthinking by The Yellow Meeple:- Top 5 Most Anticipated Board Games of Essen 2017

Spiel, the largest tabletop gaming convention in the world, will be taking place in Essen, Germany from October 26th-29th. Unfortunately we won't be there, as the idea of Essen is a little too intimidating and a convention which focuses on shopping rather than playing isn't necessarily our kind of event. Nevertheless, the list of new releases is HUGE and I can't deny that I'm extremely excited for some of these games!

I've used the tool on BoardGameGeek in order to compile this list and after being very strict with myself, I am interested in 95 items, 10 of which are must haves and 25 of which are following close behind. I've decided to avoid talking about games I already consider to have been released, such as Photosynthesis at Gen Con, which I'm still waiting to try. I'm also going to avoid talking about games I've already backed on Kickstarter or pre-ordered. Charterstone, Pandemic Legacy Season 2, First Martians, Dinosaur Island, Tao Long and Cerebria all fall into this category, amongst some others.

So, here's my Top 5 of new releases I am most looking forward to at Essen 2017.

Saturday 14 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Game: Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Publisher: Pandasaurus Games

Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle

Year: 2017

Wasteland Express Delivery Service was on my most anticipated list for Gen Con 2017, and it was one of the first games on that list I was able to play. When I added it to the list, it was mainly for aesthetic reasons, given that I knew very little about the gameplay. Even the theme meant nothing to when I made the list, however since then I have watched Mad Max Fury Road and the post apocalyptic landscape makes sense and does seem to make an interesting setting for a board game as well as inspiring some fantastic artwork and characters for this game.

In Wasteland Express Delivery Service you have survived the apocalypse and are running the last delivery service, trading in weapons, food and water around the last remaining settlements. Each player plays as a delivery driver, customising their vehicle to be the best at getting people what they want whilst making the most money and completing priority first class contracts.

Tuesday 10 October 2017

Post eternal, shiny and chrome:-Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Game: Wasteland Express Delivery Service

Publisher: Pandasaurus Games

Designer: Jonathan Gilmour, Ben Pinchback, Matt Riddle

Year: 2017
Wasteland Express Delivery Service is a 2-5 player pick up and deliver game set in a post apocalyptic nuclear wasteland. In it you’ll be transporting the bare essentials of survival; food, water, and ammunition, all in the interest of ensuring the survival of mankind making a fat profit! You can play the game as an honest postie, buying and selling goods and upgrading your truck to carry more and move faster, or you can become a savage warrior, getting your goods by raiding encampments and spending your money on bigger guns and missiles.

Each round every player has 5 actions, these actions can be used for a variety of things, but the most common is movement. Movement is done really well in this game, the first time you move you go (typically) 4 spaces, if you end up somewhere you can perform another action you can move your action marker from move to that action and do it instantly. However if you don’t perform another action then the next time you move you will accelerate, moving an extra space, up to a maximum at 3 consecutive move actions. All the other actions in the game are context sensitive; you can purchase items in outposts that have items for sale, you can deliver items to outposts that require them for money and quests, you can use special outpost actions such as the mod shop or drawing new quests or you can fight and pillage from raiders. After performing an action you place one of your action gear on that space which in turn tracks your speed/blocks off that action for the rest of the round.

Sunday 8 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple's First Impressions:- 23rd September - 7th October 2017

Another few exciting new deliveries have arrived in the last couple of weeks, but I do think that I've been getting the collection under control. On the other hand, this week we made our choices for our October Kickstarter backing and it reminded me of all the exciting games I'm waiting for. It's hard not to be impatient when you have 26 games on preorder or Kickstarter! The worrying thing is that none of these games will have space on the shelf when they arrive so we need to play more of our games and make some hard decisions, so here's the Yellow Meeple's first impressions;

Friday 6 October 2017

The Game Shelf are going to Play Expo Manchester

It's always great to stay connected with the gaming community. Although I don't actively participate much in many of the Facebook groups I'm a member of, I am a lurker and this week I saw someone talking about the Play Expo in Manchester which they were going to attend because it has a mixture of board gaming and video gaming. The date caught my eye and I realised that, by chance, we will visiting Manchester on 14th/15th October and might be able to attend. Quickly, I made a plan and we'll definitely be there on Saturday 14th and possibly Sunday 15th too, depending how much there is to see. It will be our first time at this convention and my first time attending a convention with a focus other than board games, but our personal interests span both categories, with Amy being a big video game geek.

Thursday 5 October 2017

Thoughts from the Yellow Meeple:- Dice Forge

GameDice Forge

Publisher: Libellud

Designer: Régis Bonnessée

Dice Forge made a big impression when it was released due to the unique-ness of its dice building mechanics, but apparently it has very quickly faded out of popularity. It hasn't been played by any groups that we take part in, so we decided to pick up our own copy. As big LEGO fans, the idea of building your own dice is quite a familiar one that I haven't seem implemented before in hobby board games, although I understand that Rattlebones did something similar. Dice City also used the concept of customising the powers of different dice faces, but without the tactile nature of actually adding new face to a die.

In Dice Forge, each player starts the game with two six-sided dice with custom, removable faces. The faces you start with are very basic, giving you one or two of the game's basic resources. On every player's turn you roll your dice to obtain resources and keep track of these on your player board. When it gets to your turn you can use these resources to either purchase new dice faces or to purchase a card from the game board, most of which give a combination of a special ability and end game points. The game has a limited number of turns where you will continue to roll your ever-improving dice and purchase cards to try and have the most victory points at the end of the game.

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Luck is a fickle goddess to please:- Dice Forge

Game: Dice Forge

Publisher: Libellud

Designer: Régis Bonnessée

Year: 2017
Dice Forge is a 2-4 player dice game in which you seek to gain resources to gain the favour of the gods. You’ll spend those resources on performing the various heroic deeds which in turn will enhance your powers to further your goals. The truly unique part of Dice Forge is the fact that it is a dice crafting game, you start with dice with rather weak faces, but you can remove the faces from your dice and replace them with better ones as the game progresses.

At the start of any one players turn every player rolls both of their dice and adds their resources to their resource pool. Resources come in 3 main flavours: gold, fire crystals and moon crystals, though you can also get dice faces that simply provide victory points. After rolling you get to perform an action, either buying a new die face or recruiting a creature. New die faces cost you gold, you simply pick the one you want, use the edge of it as a lever to pry off the die face you want to remove and then slot the new one it. The dice faces work a lot like Lego, in fact if anyone has played the old Lego board games you’ll see that dice forge isn’t the first game to produce constructible dice!

Monday 2 October 2017

The Yellow Meeple Starts a Board Game Group at Work:- Week 13

We have decided to run a board game night on a monthly basis at work. In the 4 weeks since the last game night, some people have actually been asking if we can play more frequently, which is a great time and Dobble has been played on a couple of Friday lunchtime occasions too. It's a really nice change from my last job where I sometimes felt like I was forcing people to come along. This time everyone was keen to bring along food and drinks and make a really good evening. 

Week 13

Number of Attendees: 7

Games Played: Sushi Go, Dixit, Codenames, In A Bind Junior